Chemical engineering PhD students present their work at an annual symposium | Imperial News

Doctoral students presented their research work in the form of posters and oral presentations, for which prizes were awarded.

PhD students from the Department of Chemical Engineering had the opportunity to present their cutting-edge research to staff and students at Imperial College London. The annual PhD symposium has been around since 2006, but this year’s event was the first in-person symposium since March 2020.

The event showed the incredible breadth and quality of research conducted within the department, with topics ranging from biotechnology to carbon capture, making the judge’s decision incredibly difficult. Prizes were available for the best oral and poster presentations, with one competition judged by a panel of academics and the second based on votes from participants.

The event was opened with a talk by Dr. Maria Papathanasiou, an academic in the department whose work focuses on the development of digital twins for process simulation, optimization and control. Her talk, titled “Chemical Engineering, Myself, and Academia,” provided insightful insight into how she became an academic and how she devotes her time to teaching and research. The lecture was a good start for the event and was followed by eighteen PhD presentations during the day.

Highlights of the morning session included a presentation by Frederik J. Link focusing on debottlenecking the downstream purification of biopharmaceutical proteins via crystallization – a significantly greener and cost-effective method to purify these vital therapeutics. He demonstrated that tuning the properties of the solution is an excellent method to facilitate and advance the crystallization of the protein human insulin, which represents an important step towards the design of new crystallization pathways applicable to industrial use.

During the lunch break, the poster session took place, with Miriam Sarkis winning the best poster presentation. His work focuses on the development of a computer-aided modeling and optimization framework for the design and operation of supply chains for advanced pharmaceuticals, such as cell and gene therapies. Specifically, his poster outlined a methodology for characterizing manufacturing uncertainties for processes under development and assessing how these may lead to alternative supply chain network structures and costs.

These identified trends can be used to better inform investment planning decisions when scaling clinical to commercial operations. Improving supply chain resilience to manufacturing demand and uncertainty would help ensure patient accessibility to these breakthrough therapies as more products gain market approval.

Other notable presentations include an oral presentation by Anna-Maria Eckel, winner of the two afternoon judging sessions. His work, focusing on carbon capture and storage, described the novel application of X-ray CT scans to study convective mixing in 3D structures such as rock samples. Its results and observations have provided more representative information for the study of convective mixing in the context of carbon capture and storage and the selection and evaluation of carbon sequestration sites, which may prove essential for mitigating climate change.

Congratulations to all the winners and participants!

The full winners are below.


Choice of the academic jury:

1st Prize: Miriam Sarkis

2nd prize: Anouk L’Hermitte

3rd Prize: Adam Ward

Popular vote:

1st prize: Athanasios Antonakoudis

2nd prize: Tarik Alkharusi

3rd prize: Kleio-Aikaterini Zervidi

Morning presentations

Choice of the academic jury:

1st prize: Frederik Jochen Link

2nd prize: Hassan Azzan

3rd Prize: Roberto Di Blasi

Popular vote:

1st prize: Apanpreet Kaur

2nd prize: Frederik Jochen Lien

3rd prize: Hassan Azzan

Afternoon presentations

Choice of the academic jury:

1st prize: Anna-Maria Eckel

2nd prize: Junyi Cui

3rd Prize: Annabelle Tan

Popular vote:

1st prize: Anna-Maria Eckel

2nd Prize: Annabelle Tan

3rd prize: Tanuj Karia